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   July 27, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA

Most Rev. Cordileone named archbishop of San Francisco

Archbishop-designate Salvatore J. Cordileone meets the media in San Francisco on July 27.
Michele Jurich/The Catholic Voice

The Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, who had served as bishop of Oakland since 2009, has been named archbishop of San Francisco. He will be installed as the ninth archbishop at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption on Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of the archdiocese.

Until then, he will continue to administer the Diocese of Oakland.

The Vatican announced July 27 that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the resignation of Archbishop George H. Niederauer, 76, who had reached the age limit and had served since 2005.

“I am humbled by the confidence that Pope Benedict XVI has placed in me by entrusting to me the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of San Francisco,” the archbishop-designate told a gathering of media and chancery staff at the cathedral in San Francisco July 27.

In his prepared remarks, the archbishop-designate expressed his gratitude to the people of Oakland, adding, “I regret that my time among them as the pastor of that local Church was so brief.”

Archbishop-designate Cordileone made his remarks in English and Spanish, and took questions from the assembled media.

Asked about his “stance on Proposition 8 and church abuse,” the archbishop-designate responded: “I’m for marriage and against abuse.” The reply drew applause from the chancery staff. Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote in 2008, was a state constitutional amendment that allowed marriage only between a man and a woman. It has been overturned by the state Supreme Court and an appeal is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Marriage is a foundational good. One of the cultural challenges all throughout the West, including here, is the erosion of family life, the breakup of families, children growing up without their parents, especially without their fathers, abuse in the home. These are cultural, moral challenges that we have to confront.

“Children deserve to have a mother and a father,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to strengthen marriage, understanding it’s a benefit for everyone in society.”

On the abuse issue, he said, “Our church has suffered the shame of the sex abuse of children by clergy but we have also had firm resolve in addressing the problem. We have made a lot of progress in doing so. I’m very grateful to my predecessors in the episcopacy here in this country who have had such firm resolve and I hope to build on that.”

Another reporter asked if the archbishop-designate, now that he was in San Francisco, would be willing to revisit his stance against same-sex marriage, and what he would say to the gay and lesbian brethren in Catholic Church.

The archbishop-designate, who chairs the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “Marriage can only be between a man and a woman. I don’t see how that is discriminatory against anyone.

“The challenge for us in the Church is to help people who are in a situation of a sexual orientation where they feel alienated from the Church and sometimes experience it very directly. We need to continue to learn how to be welcoming, let them know that we love them and we want to help them and that our stand for marriage is not against anyone but it’s because we believe it’s foundational for the good of our society.”

The archbishop of San Francisco ministers to more than a half million Catholics of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties with 416 priests, 90 deacons and 675 women religious. There are 91 parishes with 11 missions, 60 elementary schools, 18 preschools and 14 high schools.

By contrast, the Diocese of Oakland serves an estimated 700,000 Catholics in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, with 323 priests, 115 deacons and 466 religious brothers and sisters. There are 84 parishes and 16 pastoral centers with 46 elementary schools and nine high schools.

The Diocese of Oakland, which was formed from the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1962, is celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

Statement from the archbishop-designate

I am humbled by the confidence that Pope Benedict XVI has placed in me by entrusting to me the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. As the old saying goes, “God writes straight with crooked lines,” and I trust that, even with my limitations and shortcomings, God’s will is being accomplished in the midst of this unexpected call in my service to the Church.

I am and will always remain grateful to the priests and people of the Diocese of Oakland who welcomed me with such gracious hospitality immediately upon my arrival in the Diocese. I regret that my time among them as the pastor of that local Church was so brief. The East Bay is a place rich in diversity and cultural and spiritual vibrancy, and I was so looking forward to continuing to build on these resources with so many of my valued collaborators by tapping into the creative energy that has always characterized the Diocese of Oakland. To all of the wonderful priests and priestly people of the Oakland Diocese, please know that I love you and will continue to hold you in prayer and remain grateful for all you have taught me about what it takes to be a leader in the Church today.

At the same time, I look forward to assuming my new pastoral responsibilities with and for the priests and people of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I wish to thank Archbishop Niederauer in particular for the support he has always shown me from the day of the announcement of my appointment to Oakland, and especially now in my transition as his successor. The Church of San Francisco has a tremendous legacy of Catholic ministries and participation in the local community for serving the common good. While assuming the pastoral care of a local Church as its bishop is always a daunting challenge, I am encouraged by the history we have to build upon and take confidence that, with much prayer and hard work, and with the grace of God, we will, together, be able to further the New Evangelization in this corner of the world we call home.

Acepto con humildad la confianza que el Santo Padre Papa Benedicto Dieciséis ha puesto en mí al confiarme la cura pastoral de la Arquidiócesis de San Francisco, y me comprometo a hacer todo lo posible, con la gracia de Dios, de seguir el ejemplo del Buen Pastor en mi nuevo encargo.

Quiero aprovechar esta oportunidad también para expresar mis más profundas gracias a los sacerdotes y al pueblo de la Diócesis de Oakland por su valiosa colaboración y por el gran espíritu de hospitalidad que siempre ha marcado esta preciosa Iglesia local.

Agradezco además todo el apoyo que Su Excelencia, el Arzobispo Niederauer me ha brindado desde el momento del anuncio de mi nombramiento a Oakland y especialmente ahora en mi transición como su sucesor.

Ahora pido a Dios Su gracia y misericordia para que, indigno que yo sea, pueda cumplir la misión de la Nueva Evangelización junto con los sacerdotes, diáconos, religiosas y religiosos y todos los fieles laicos aquí en los tres condados que componen la Arquidiócesis de San Francisco.  

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